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USP Niue Campus Farewell Outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner

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Outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, HE Kirk Yates (front row far right), with Campus Director Niue Seone S. Lolesio (front row far left), Director of Education Niue & CAC member, Birtha Togahai (next to HE Kirk Yates), Maryanne Talagi (USP Niue Campus Staff, Former Acting CD and Postgraduate Diploma Pacific Studies Student). And some of the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Pacific Studies) students, Niue Cohort, Moira Enetama (Director Taoga Niue), Atapana Siakimotu (Former Speaker of Parliament) and Loseligi Siakimotu (Former Director of Education).

‘Education is a life-long learning experience.  Regardless of how old you are or your age, learning should never end’.These were the words of outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Kirk Yates, when responding to a remark made by Postgraduate Diploma student, Loseligi Siakimotu.

Ms Siakimotu was sharing how she had considered herself too old to go back to school prior to deciding to enrol in the programme.  After having completed three courses with one left to go, Loseligi said she had no regrets taking up the programme and has learnt a lot.  The skills that she has acquired ranges from being able to critically analyse but more specifically, being able to appreciate the issues and challenges relating to Niue culture and traditions.  Siakimotu said she enjoyed the experience of using Moodle as a teaching and learning tool.

High Commissioner Kirk Yates was hosted to a farewell morning tea by USP Niue Campus staff and Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Pacific Studies) students on Monday 22 June 2020.  On completion of his term in May he returned to New Zealand on 29 June 2020.  His successor will arrive in Niue on 14 July.

Three Postgraduate students, Atapana Siakimotu, Loseligi Siakimotu and Moira Enetama, shared their experiences of taking up their course.  Moira Enetama said after more than 20 years of looking after Taoga Niue, after taking just one of the courses, her view on Niue artefacts will never be the same.  Atapana and Loseligi Siakimotu also shared similar sentiments.  

Also present at the event were the Director of Education and CAC member Birtha Togahai, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Pacific Studies) students Atapana Siakimotu (Former Speaker of Niue Parliament) and his wife Loseligi Siakimotu (Former Director of Education); Moira Enetama (Director Taoga Niue), Centre for Excellence in IT (CEIT) Manager, Pappu Kapgate and USP Niue Campus Staff.

The High Commissioner remarked how his government appreciated the critical role that USP provides in human resource development, particularly in Niue and throughout the Pacific.

Over the years, USP Niue Campus has developed a good relationship with the New Zealand High Commission.  It is through this relationship that the New Zealand High Commission provided funding towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Pacific Studies).  His Excellency encouraged the students to stay on course to complete the programme and move on to higher level such as a Masters. He wished them luck with their studies.  He also acknowledged the hard work done by the Campus Director and the USP Niue Campus staff in attracting and providing improved services for students to study on campus.

USP Niue Campus in September 2019 enrolled 7 students in Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Pacific Studies) as an in-country Niue cohort.  It was the highest number for this programme from any regional campus.  The course delivery arrangement was for Lecturers from Laucala to fly to Niue and teach for 2 weeks each semester as well as conduct a flexi-school to help speed up completion of the programme.

Towards the end of 2019, the New Zealand High Commission Niue provided a further grant which assisted in financing a summer flexi-school during December 2019 and January 2020.  

Renowned Pacific Island Scholar, Professor Konai Helu Thaman, came to Niue to conduct the course.  Professor Konai was accompanied by her husband, Emeritus Professor Randy Thaman.  They brought joy, encouragement and motivation not only to the Postgraduate Diploma in Pacific Studies students but to their former Niue students, friends and the people of Niue, especially those that knew them only through their writings, poems, academic journal articles and books.  A successful panel discussion was organised by the students with Professor Konai one evening.

Six of the initial 7 Postgraduate students are completing their last course for the programme at the end of Semester 1, 2020.  Most of them are in good standing to continue on to a Masters level.

Eleven (11) students have enrolled for the summer flexi-school course, including 1 Postgraduate Diploma in Education and 1 Master of Education.

The Director of Education thanked the outgoing New Zealand High Commissioner for his support during his time in Niue, not only to USP Niue Campus, but also to the Education Department.

Niue Campus Director, Seone S. Lolesio, thanked High Commissioner Yates for the grants and also for his involvement in other important events at the campus, including being the Chief Guest for the Research Presentation Activity during USP’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2018.  He also thanked the High Commissioner for his involvement for the launch of the new satellite dish in October 2019.

The Niue Campus staff, students and the guests took the opportunity to wish His Excellency Kirk Yates well in his next posting.

This news item was published on 1 Jul 2020 04:37:06 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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